SWOP launches strategic plan
The Sex Workers Outreach Program (SWOP) launched its strategic plan for 2013-2016 at ACON on Wednesday. The organisation provides sexual health information and support for people who engage in sex work. At the launch, SWOP outlined their achievements to date and summarised plans for the future as SWOP moves into a new phase of autonomy.
Guest speakers at the launch included Janelle Fawkes (CEO, Scarlet Alliance) and Professor Basil Donovan (Kirby Institute).
Fawkes commented on SWOP’s coming of age and the role it had played in the health and wellbeing of sex workers around the country and recognised the hard work and development of the organisation.
“This strategic plan is a clear articulation of the important role that SWOP plays in reducing and preventing HIV and STI transmission amongst sex workers in NSW,” said Fawkes.
“I know the background behind this document and the passion and commitment that went into it and the consultation with sex workers of NSW that will now allow the organisation to move forward as an autonomous organisation.”
Fawkes recognised the contribution of all the sex workers that had come before, assisting in delivering “high quality peer-based sex education to assist in a sustained, strong culture of condom use, safe sex practices and testing”.
Fawkes said with SWOP's transition to an autonomous organisation, it was critical SWOP gain support to ensure it had a direct and an autonomous relationship with funders.
“SWOP needs a place at the table wherever sex worker policy or HIV policy are informed or discussed or implemented,” she commented.
In his speech Professor Donovan recalled the days of the sex industry when police corruption was rife and political corruption saw sex workers out on their own. Indeed Donovan was present at the first meeting of SWOP. He said it has been a wonderful evolution to watch the emergence of SWOP as an advocacy group for sex workers.
“The APC and SWOP realised early on that without law reform you would have nothing,” commented Donovan.
He was also encouraged SWOP's new strategic plan recognised the many different types of sex workers.
Kylie Tattersall (Executive Director, SWOP) said she was excited to launch the strategic plan, which she believed reflected the new era of SWOP as an independent, strong, vibrant organisation governed by sex workers.
“The plan itself is succinct – it was born by listening to our key stakeholders - sex workers. We had community consultations, surveys, one to ones with sex workers – it’s the most consultative plan in SWOP’s 22 year history.
“Sex workers told us what was important to them and I believe the plan reflects that,” said Tattersall. “It reflects the importance of their wellbeing and occupational rights. It also sets out the activities we will engage in over the next three years.”
Tattersall said sex workers in NSW should feel “really proud for the remarkable health outcomes they have achieved to date.”
Image: (L-R) Donna Ingram (Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council), Janelle Fawkes (CEO, Scarlet Alliance), Kylie Tattersall (Executive Director, SWOP), Professor Basil Donovan (Kirby Institute). By Cec Busby